Sask. small-town hockey rink with descending 'catwalk' onto ice grabs internet's attention

A video of a 95-year-old hockey rink in a small Saskatchewan town is being shared widely on social media due to a unique "drawbridge" from the dressing rooms onto the ice.

Village rink has raised more than $10K for maintenance since viral video

hockey players skate in the Lang rink below the drawbridge staircase
A 95-year-old rink is getting internet attention for its unique entrance — a drawbridge that drops from the roof to allow hockey players onto the ice from the second floor dressing rooms. (Adam Bent/CBC)

A hockey rink in a small Saskatchewan town has earned internet stardom for the way skaters hit the ice.

At the community skating rink in Lang, Sask., about 60 kilometres south of Regina, players have to descend a staircase that rises and falls using a pulley system. 

Once they're onto the ice, the staircase — like a drawbridge — is lifted back to the roof.

Rink board member and village councillor Mike Williams said the community calls it the "catwalk."

"As you step onto the stairs it drops down onto the ice and you walk down onto the ice and when your whole team is out there you push it back up with your hockey stick," Williams told Peter Mills, guest host of CBC's The Morning Edition

"We're pretty proud of our old barn."

A viral video posted to social media platforms shows a player from the neighbouring Hamlet of Gray, Sask., attempting to drop the catwalk to get onto the ice when it abruptly drops and forces him to shuffle down a few steps.

On one Twitter post, the video is nearing one million views.

Williams said the drawbridge appears to have gotten stuck in the video, but isn't dangerous and typically slides up and down easily.

He's also fairly certain the Lang Rink, built in 1928, is the oldest rink in Saskatchewan.

Ray Beck, a former rink board member, said he believes the unique staircase was added in the 1940s for easier access to the ice from the dressing rooms.

Like Williams, Beck said the ability to keep ice in the rink since the late 1920s has been a point of pride for the community.

"My dad came in here in Jan. 1, 1929, as a 15-year-old, scraped up a dime because that's what it cost to get in the building for the day … so it's been handed down in our family," Beck said.

The "zamboni" matches the rink's esthetic — it's a green barrel with wheels and a mop trailing behind.

A green barrel with wheels and a mop trailing behind on the ice surface
Lang rink's charming green barrel zamboni with a mop trailing behind to clean the ice. (Adam Bent/CBC)

Jesse Ridgway, who lives on a farm just north of Lang, said she appreciates the rink as a community hub.

Her seven-year-old son, Lucas Ridgway, was one of her three kids at the rink on Wednesday watching local hockey.

"I can't imagine what it's like to be a goalie going down those stairs, because they're pretty sketchy," he said, adding he doesn't have issues descending the drawbridge.

WATCH | Small town Sask. hockey rink the centre of attention for drawbridge entrance onto ice: 

Canadian rink getting attention after video shows kids getting onto ice from draw bridge

2 months ago
Duration 3:17
A 95-year-old indoor rink about 45 minutes southeast of Regina is getting attention from all over North America. It's because of a video that went viral on social media this week, showing kids getting onto the rink in Lang from a draw bridge. The people who take care of the rink are using it as a chance to raise to funds to keep their aging community rink going.

Despite the nostalgia that hovers around the antique hockey rink, Williams said it took about one thousand volunteer hours this past year to maintain.

He's started a GoFundMe with a $25,000 goal — more than $10,000 of which has already been raised — with the money  to be used for basic maintenance, kitchen and bathroom repairs, and "some grease for our ladder pulley."

Mike Williams stands on an area overlooking the rink
Mike Williams, Village of Lang councillor, started a GoFundMe for funds to maintain the near century-old rink. (Adam Bent/CBC)

Williams said the recently installed puckboards cost $18,000.

Regardles of future updates and renovations, Williams said one thing won't be changing.

"The catwalk will be here until the day this barn goes down," he said. "Which hopefully isn't for another 100-plus years."


Dayne Patterson is a reporter for CBC News in Saskatchewan and is based in Saskatoon. He has a master's degree in journalism with an interest in data reporting and Indigenous affairs. Reach him at

With files from Samantha Samson and The Morning Edition


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